Thursday, May 30, 2013


Late Tuesday afternoon I took this photo of the kittens and their mom. They were resting out under the big pine behind the woodshed. I told Roger that I was concerned that they were really vulnerable out there. They had definitely outgrown the little space where they had spent the past four weeks. While they did run under there any time they felt threatened, they were happily inclined to explore a little bit of the space around them in their adorable kitty way. We had first seen them on Sunday, and we never saw the kittens again after this pic on Tuesday. We did find the momma cat hiding under our deck in the backyard Wednesday morning. She has spent almost all of her time there since. No kittens. It is coyote season, which reminds us of what happened here last Memorial Day weekend 2012.

We still plan to trap mom and take her to a "no-kill" shelter. This is not the outcome we had expected at all, but it really is typical of the hard life of domestic and feral critters whose lives overlap the wild.

We set up the motion sensor camera under the deck, just to really make sure momma cat was alone. Roger crawled under there Thursday afternoon and did not see any kittens. But we wanted one last verification. And yes indeed, there are two kittens under there with momma. Not sure where they were hiding or if she just brought them under there, but they are there. Momma just had her first meal in the unset trap. Plan is to set it on Monday. Wish us luck. We'll keep you posted. Then it'll be kitten trappin' time. And we will be so glad when this saga is over.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Road To Hell

You know what they say it is paved with... good intentions. But really it's paved with kittens.

Oh yeah, I've got enough good intentions to pave the entire planet. It starts out with an idea that you know is wrong-headed and will ultimately cause trouble, but you do it anyway because there's a very hungry feral cat eating pizza crumbs off the picnic table. We had seen the cat prowling around for a few days. It was hanging out under the bird feeder. It was chasing lizards in the wood pile. It was eating stale bread in the compost pile. It was achingly skinny. So Roger says, why don't you give it Bonsai's leftover wet food since you toss it out everyday. So, the paving begins.

It always starts out innocently, like meager leftovers put in a plastic dish on top of the compost pile. But it became increasingly obvious that this was not enough food. So, we started buying big cans of Friskies, and the feral one got a full can everyday, which it completely inhales in less than five minutes. That goes on for a couple of months, and then one day three coyotes show up and the feral cat (who we started calling "Blackie") disappears. We didn't see it for two days. Roger set up the motion sensor video camera in the compost pile and records a fox and a skunk eating the food put out for the cat, but no Blackie. So, we assumed that Blackie was killed by the coyotes. I felt bad, but I also felt that s/he had been given a few really good months of reliable food, and that was some solace.

Then, Blackie shows up really hungry. I mean, REALLY HUNGRY. S/he is running to the compost pile four times a day. S/he wants FOOD. We accommodate by adding an additional half can of Friskies, plus Bonsai's leftovers, plus kibble. That seems to satisfy. The increased appetite is puzzling until Roger notices one day about a month ago, Blackie is in our yard with what appears to be a small white kitten in HER mouth. Roger's presence deters her from her plan, and she leaves with the kitten.

A month goes by, and we watch her running from the compost pile to the woodshed several times a day. There's not much room under that woodshed, and yet she squeezes under it all day long. We know there must be at least one white kitten there. We also know it's only a matter of time before we get to see it. And then it happens. Not just one, or two, but three kittens almost weaned and completely FERAL come bounding out from under the woodshed. Oh yes, we are witnesses to the result of our very best intentions.

There will be trapping and transporting in everyone's future. Blackie will be spayed, and hopefully a safe place for her will be found. The kittens will be socialized and fostered.

Could someone please warn us the next time we have a really good idea? Or we could start a blogging meme called: Mistakes We Have Made.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Half My Lifetime Ago

I woke in the night a little while ago thinking of some old photographs taken half my lifetime ago. Mostly I remembered the cloud photograph, but the other two were taken the same day. It was 1982, I was 30 years old, going to the university and working for the City of Boulder, while my husband was the production videographer for the local CBS affiliate in Denver. It must have been a sunny weekend day (because we were always busy with work and school during the week) and we had gone out exploring west of the city, on the road to Nederland.

There was something about these photos that reminded me that I have essentially always been who I am. I see me pointing, and I know it must be toward something beautiful. Or, I'm standing in the blazing sunlight at the water's edge, wanting only to build a little cabin and live there forever. I've always been that dreamer.

And then, my first husband (the professional photographer) must have handed me the camera so I could photograph the clouds, after I had said excitedly, "Hey that looks like a goose, take a photo of it, honey." But that wasn't his artistic niche, so I clicked the pic. I've always been that person, the sky watcher, lover of atmospheric optics. This is probably the first photograph of clouds I've ever taken.

Last Monday, May 13th I celebrated my 61st birthday with my twin brother, sister-in-law, and Roger. When I look at these old photographs I see the ageless part that informs me and spans the years like a message inscribed in my genes. I really like remembering this continuity.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Our African Violet

June 2008, 13 years old
May 2013, 18 years old

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Blue-headed Mallard

We came upon this lone mallard on Sunday. Not only was it alone, it seemed lonely. How could we surmise such a thing? We completely anthropomorphized, that's how! Actually, it was quite unenthusiastically moving around in circles in the reservoir. I was hoping that it was just taking a little time away from the nest, and that Mrs. Mallard was tending to the eggs. I photographed it from quite a distance. There was something about it that just seemed different or odd.

When I downloaded pics, I saw this mallard had a distinctly dark blue head. It was quite beautiful, but also not the color of male mallards we are all accustomed to seeing. I read a little about why this bird's head might be blue, and one answer said that it could be a young male with not quite enough testosterone.

Well, that might explain some of the loneliness. I'm really glad I took its photo. Google has quite a few good photos if you want to see some excellent close-ups.